An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the Residence Hall Association, Rackham, University of Michigan Engineering Council and Ross Student Government Association have all passed resolutions support the Stop the Hike proposal. In fact, proposals are now before these bodies and are supposed to be considered in the next couple weeks.
Students from across campus filled the Regents’ Room in the Fleming Administration Building yesterday to urge the University Board of Regents at its monthly meeting to freeze tuition next year.
Members of the campus group Stop the Hike called on regents and University administrators to maintain current tuition rates for the next academic year as long as state appropriations remain the same.
Speaking before the regents, Engineering senior Ashwin Lalendran said Stop the Hike hopes to keep the University accessible to all students by temporarily halting the recent up-ticks in tuition.
Lalendran noted that the Michigan Student Assembly, the LSA Student Government, the Ross School of Business Student Government, the Residence Hall Association and the Interfraternity Council, among others, are all now considering proposals to support the Stop the Hike campaign.
Regent Andrea Fischer-Newman (R-Ann Arbor) said she supported the group’s proposal because it considered state funding levels.
“I personally think it’s a rational proposal,” she said.
Provost Teresa Sullivan said a tuition freeze would limit the University’s ability to increase services, including financial aid.
“It also means you can’t do anything different next year, you can’t have any more financial aid,” she said. “We haven’t made a decision yet.”
Sullivan said that while some students are experiencing additional financial constraints due to the state of the economy, there are also students who can still afford to pay higher tuition rates.
“To me, the most important thing is there’s nothing more for financial aid, at a time when there are certainly students who need it and there are still students in the student body who can pay it,” she said.
New plan will raise employee contributions to health benefits
University President Mary Sue Coleman announced a new cost-sharing plan yesterday, in which University employees will pay more for their health benefits next year.
Speaking at the monthly meeting of the University Board of Regents, Coleman said the new cost-sharing plan will help the University cope with the financial strain employee benefit packages are putting on the its finances.
“Simply put, our health care costs will paralyze the University of Michigan unless we take action,” Coleman told the regents. “In 20 years, it would consume our entire budget.”
Despite the change — which will increase employee contributions from approximately 20 to 30 percent — Coleman stressed that it would not affect the quality of employees’ benefit packages.
“I want to be clear about one essential fact in this new approach,” she said. “We are not changing benefits for employees or retirees.”
The initiative to increase employee contributions to health plans was announced last fall, although specific details were not made public. According to Coleman, University employees will receive an e-mail today outlining the details.
Regents approve eight honorary degrees
The University Board of Regents also unanimously approved eight honorary degrees to be awarded this spring at the University’s various commencement ceremonies.
Six of the honorary degrees will be awarded at the University’s graduation ceremonies in Ann Arbor this spring.
Donald Graham, for whom the University’s recently established Graham Environmental Sustainability Institute is named, will receive a Doctor of Engineering degree. Michael Posner, who will give the commencement address at the graduation exercises on May 1, will receive a Doctor of Science degree. Freeman Hrabowski, Joan Hyman Tisch and Richard Rogel, who co-chaired the nationally record-setting Michigan Difference Campaign, will each receive Doctor of Laws degrees.
At the University’s Dearborn campus, Ismael Ahmed, who currently serves as the director of the Michigan Department of Human Services, and Arthur Kochoff will each receive a Doctor of Laws degree. Both will receive their honorary degrees at the University’s Dearborn graduation ceremony on May 3.
Bobby Crim, former speaker of the Michigan House of Representatives and founder of the Crim Fitness Foundation, will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree on May 3 at the University’s Flint graduation ceremony.
The decision to award the honorary degrees comes two months after the regents announced they would award an honorary degree to Google co-founder Larry Page, who is scheduled to give the commencement address at the Ann Arbor campus graduation ceremony.